The 2016 Pacific hurricane season is a currently ongoing season which marked the first time since 2011 in which no tropical cyclones occurred in May, and the first time since 2007 that no named storms formed in the month of June. On January 7, Hurricane Pali formed in the Central Pacific, becoming the earliest Central Pacific tropical cyclone to form on record. The season officially started on May 15 in the East Pacific Ocean, and on June 1 in the Central Pacific; they will both end on November 30. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Pacific basin. However, as illustrated by Hurricane Pali, the formation of tropical cyclones is possible at any time of the year.
On May 6, 2016, the Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN) issued its first outlook for the Pacific hurricane season, forecasting a near average season with 17 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4 major hurricanes. On May 27, NOAA released their outlook, forecasting 13-20 named storms, 6-11 hurricanes, and 3-6 major hurricanes. NOAA admitted that this season would be difficult to predict because of changing conditions, but both organizations cited a dissipating El Niño and the formation of a La Niña event, which resulted in the prediction of a near-normal season in both basins. In the Central Pacific, about four to seven cyclones would form or enter within the basin, citing an equal 40% chance of an above-normal or near-normal season.
The Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index for the 2016 Pacific hurricane season, as of 15:00 UTC July 15, is 45.735 units (36.58 units from the Eastern Pacific and 9.155 units from the Central Pacific).
As the new year began, Tropical Depression Nine-C was in the Central Pacific, but dissipated later that day. Nine-C's remnants led to the formation of Pali on January 7, two days before Tropical Storm Winona's formation in 1989. Pali subsequently surpassed Hurricane Ekeka's record and became a hurricane on January 11. When Pali reached a peak intensity of 100 mph, it beat Winona to become the strongest January tropical cyclone east of the dateline. Pali also reached a record low latitude of 2.0°N, beating Nine-C's record of 2.2°N to become the southern most tropical cyclone on record in the western hemisphere. Although Pali formed in January, the season kicked off to a very inactive start; for the first time since 2011, no tropical depressions or storms formed during the month of May, and no named storms formed during June since 2007. Agatha formed on July 2, the latest first named storm in the eastern Pacific proper since 1969.
- Main article: Hurricane Pali (2016)
|Category 2 hurricane (SSHS)|
|Duration||January 7 – January 15|
|Intensity||100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min), 977 mbar (hPa)|
At the onset of 2016, the dissipating Tropical Depression Nine-C left behind a large area of moisture across the equatorial Pacific. A powerful westerly wind burst—a feature commonly associated with strong El Niño events—spurred cyclogenesis within the disturbance, resulting in the formation of an area of low pressure. Fueled by unusually high sea surface temperatures, estimated at 85.1 °F (29.5 °C), the system gradually coalesced into a tropical depression on January 7. This marked the earliest formation of a tropical cyclone on record in the Central Pacific, surpassing 1989's Tropical Storm Winona by six days. It soon strengthened into a tropical storm, receiving the name Pali, becoming the earliest such system in the northeastern Pacific on record. Then, on January 11, Pali strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane, becoming the earliest hurricane on record in the northeast Pacific basin, beating the previous record set by Hurricane Ekeka in 1992. Pali reached a minimum latitude of 2.0°N, making it the lowest latitude tropical cyclone on record in the Western Hemisphere, surpassing Tropical Depression Nine-C which attained a minimum latitude of 2.2°N just two weeks prior. On January 12, Pali strengthened further into a Category 2 hurricane. During the next few days, Pali rapidly weakened while turning back towards the south-southeast, before weakening into a remnant low early on January 15.
Unrelated to Pali, Hurricane Alex developed over the Atlantic during the last few days of Pali's existence. This marked the first known occurrence of simultaneous January tropical cyclones between the two basins.
Tropical Depression One-EEdit
|Tropical depression (SSHS)|
|Duration||June 6 – June 8|
|Intensity||35 mph (55 km/h) (1-min), 1006 mbar (hPa)|
On June 4, the National Hurricane Center began monitoring an area for possible development. Over the next few days, the chances of the storm forming were low. Unexpectedly, however, on June 6, advisories began to be issued on Tropical Depression One-E. This led the Government of Mexico to issue a Tropical Storm Watch for its coast. On June 7 the storm weakened slightly thus the watch was removed. Early on June 8, the storm made landfall in Mexico near the Gulf of Tehuantepec and dissipated.
As a precautionary measure, temporary shelters were opened across Chiapas. The depression caused minor damage across Oaxaca, primarily within the Salina Cruz municipality. Heavy rains led to some street flooding and a sinkhole that damaged one home.
Tropical Storm AgathaEdit
|Tropical storm (SSHS)|
|Duration||July 2 – July 5|
|Intensity||45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min), 1003 mbar (hPa)|
On June 30, the National Hurricane Center began to monitor an area for possible formation. On July 1, organization unexpectedly increased. Seven hours later, early on July 2, the tropical disturbance strengthened into Tropical Depression Two-E. The system quickly organized, and later that day, the NHC upgraded Two-E into Tropical Storm Agatha. Agatha slightly strengthened to peak intensity on July 3. Winds topped off at 45 mph. Soon after, Agatha weakened slightly, with winds lowering to 40 mph later that day. The storm continued westwards over the next two days. Early on July 5, Agatha became post-tropical.
With Agatha's naming nearly two months into the season (on July 2), the storm is the second-latest first named storm in the eastern Pacific proper — only Tropical Storm Ava, which reached tropical storm intensity on July 3, 1969, formed later in the season.
|Category 4 hurricane (SSHS)|
|Duration||July 3 – July 10|
|Intensity||140 mph (220 km/h) (1-min), 947 mbar (hPa)|
On June 27, the NHC began to monitor a tropical wave moving over Central America for possible development. A low pressure area formed south of Mexico on June 30, and early on July 3, the storm gained enough organization to be designated Tropical Depression Three-E. Six hours later, amid a favorable environment with high sea surface temperatures and decreasing vertical wind shear, it intensified into Tropical Storm Blas. Steady strengthening ensued, and Blas intensified into a hurricane on July 4. Intensification stalled for the remainder of that day as dry air wrapped into the circulation; however, Blas began to rapidly deepen on July 5, and it became the first major hurricane of the season that evening. Blas quickly reached peak intensity at Category 4 strength on July 6. Blas weakened to a Category 3 hurricane soon after; later the same day, Blas became an annular tropical cyclone while maintaining Category 3 intensity. As the storm turned to the northwest, Blas weakened to a Category 2 hurricane by 15:00 UTC on July 8. Blas degenerated into a remnant low early on July 10.
|Category 2 hurricane (SSHS)|
|Duration||July 6 – July 16|
|Intensity||100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min), 972 mbar (hPa)|
On July 2, the National Hurricane Center began to watch an area for possible development. On July 6, they noted that "a tropical depression is likely to form within the next couple of days." Later that day, it became Tropical Depression Four-E. On July 8, it strengthened into Tropical Storm Celia. Later on July 10, Celia intensified into a hurricane. From there, Celia began to steadily weaken. Celia dissipated on July 16.
|Category 3 hurricane (SSHS)|
|Duration||July 11 – July 26|
|Intensity||115 mph (185 km/h) (1-min), 962 mbar (hPa)|
Over the first week of July, multiple low pressure systems formed over the East Pacific. The fourth of these was first noted by the National Hurricane Center on July 9, it was located in a favorable environment, and was expected to develop into a tropical storm. On July 10, the low was upgraded into Tropical Depression Five-E. Two days later, Five-E intensified into a tropical storm, with the NHC naming it Darby. On July 13, Darby strengthened into a hurricane. Darby became a Category 2 hurricane on July 15, and Darby became a major hurricane the following day, attaining peak intensity.
Tropical Storm EstelleEdit
|Tropical storm (SSHS)|
|Duration||July 15 – July 22|
|Intensity||70 mph (110 km/h) (1-min), 991 mbar (hPa)|
On July 15, Tropical Depression Six-E formed. The next day, the depression became a tropical storm and was designated the name Estelle.